America’s 2015-16 ratings battle is about to end, and CBS will win the season by any traditional measure, but eking out higher audience figures and share is proving to be impossible.

CBS will end up top again in the most important advertising/viewing demographic in the US, 18- to 49-year-olds. Sports programming again played a major role in the results. CBS had the Super Bowl this year (NBC had it in 2015, and Fox has it in 2017). This year’s game dragged in 112 million viewers.

In what we call total people in Australia, CBS led with an average of 10.91 million viewers — down 3.5% from a year ago (11.25 million). NBC’s average audience slipped 6% to 8.11 million (from 8.63 million), while ABC fell 15% to 6.823 million (from 7.96 million). Fox was down 0.9% at 5.78 million (from 5.83 million), and CW was down 7% to 1.99 million (from 2.1 million in 2014-15).

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Over the past year, Fox benefited from greater stability as a result of its big Empire series — the second-highest-rated 18-49 series in prime time, while the reboot of The X Files did well with its six episodes (which meant it couldn’t be classed as a series).

Mediapost pointed out: “While traditional TV measures — Nielsen same-day program ratings — continue to point lower, all TV networks believe a different story would be told if unaccounted time-shifted viewing after seven days — through VOD, digital media and other platforms — were added into the mix.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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